Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

282 Reviews
Thomas Hooker Imperial PorterThomas Hooker Imperial Porter

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Full bodied and rich color, our imperial porter has hints of roasted coffee, cocoa with a generous hop finish. Dark roasted malts blended with the crispness of English hops, this beer is smooth yet complex.

65 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2003

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Reviews: 282 | Ratings: 357
Photo of davey101
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a DFH signature glass. Being a winter seasonal it must have a few months on it...duh.

A - Dark cola brown body with red tints. Really light mocha head.

S - Roasted malts and chocolate. Smells like burnt chocolate syrup.

T - Some oddly bitter roasted malts and cocoa powder. Really lasting and bitter. Mouth feel is pretty thin for this much flavor. Alcohol does creep in slightly.

O - Ehhh. I do like Hooker, but this was a bit of a let down. Perhaps its better fresh, but the driving bitter roastiness was a bit tiring. I guess its in between a porter and a stout. The flavors seem to be a bit intense and big, while the body is thinner.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up in a Total Wine in Tampa, FL.

A: Poured black as night, with a very dense, creme-colored head that left some of its sticky charm on the side of the glass as it died down.

S: Malted milk, Whoppers candy for sure, with an eery absence of coffee of any kind. A bit of a fruity or red wine undertow. As it warmed, cocoa took over.

T: Very bitter right out of the gate, but then a semi-sweet, cotton candy explosion, along with a tinge of red wine. Very unusual, yet memorable, and ultimately effective.

M: A bit thin, but I think that was intentional. This was almost like a cocoa-laced, red wine. Low carbonation, and the lacing made the glass look like it went through a car wash without rinsing.

O: Not my favorite porter, but definitely one of the more memorable ones. Good stuff...

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - nabbed this half-liter swingtop on a trip to Orlando in '09, I'm celebrating my first Florence Freedom game, a 9-3 shellacking of the Rockford Riverhawks. Pours fairly opaque with a thin creamy mocha cap. Decent staying power - although it fades to a partial cover within a minute, its staying right there.

Aroma - a good whiff of roasty malts and coffee. Good staying power on that as well.

Taste - rich and roasty, sweet notes of coffee syrup and espresso. Huge , huge flavors, I love the intensity without the big alcohol bite. The swallow and aftertaste show some bittersweet chocolate mixed in. An excellent and tasty finish as the flavors are slow to wind down.

Mouthfeel - milky and silky, the carbonation stays in the background but provides enough spark to keep this from being too heavy.

Drinkability - an excellent porter, next time I see this I'll grab several. Excellent beer tasting choice.

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Not an overly dark body for an imperial porter, but still quite dark. About a fingers worth of off-white head.

Sweet, malty, chocolaty and lighted roasted on the nose. Pretty good, but kind of one-dimensional.

Lots of sweet, almost syrupy, chocolate followed by dark roasted malts to clean things up a bit. A bit on the sweet side for me. Hint of booze.

Mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation and just a touch of alcohol.

Overall, this is a pretty good beer. If you like porters and have a sweet tooth, then this beer will be right up your alley. Reminds me a little bit of a Southern Tier offering. Lots of sweet chocolate, probably too much sweetness for me.

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Photo of abuliarose
3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, revealing a deep brown body under two fingers of creamy just-tan head. Smells like milk chocolate with a little roasted coffee and mealy malts.

Tastes very light with an over-present roastiness and a slight watery finish. Not too keen on the aftertaste, but the overall flavors are alright. Nice burnt caramel bittersweetness. Mouthfeel is on the thinner side with a tiny but not bolstering carbonation. Decently flavorful overall, though, and drinks well.

Overall it's a good beer. One I would pick up in a pinch.

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Photo of nataku00
4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Black in color with some dark browns on the edge when held up to a light. Initial two fingers of khaki colored bubbly head slowly recedes to a swatch of bubbles and a thin collar, leaving a lot of nice lacing along the edge of the glass.

Nose is dark fruits, cherry and plum, coffee, roasted malt, and molasses. A different smelling porter, more stout like, since it lacks the darker roasted malts that I would expect in a porter. Lots of sweet aromas, and a tinge of alcohol.

Lots of dark fruit on the tongue, cherry, plum and raisin, sweet and sticky. Good amount of dark roasted malts, burnt sugar and roasted coffee mid tongue, bitter and fruity. Finishes with a lot of good roasted malt and coffee bitterness, with a little lingering dark fruit in the back of the throat.

Medium bodied with a good amount of soft carbonation. Easy to drink and very flavorful. The dark roast is definitely improved as the beer warms in your mouth.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date.

Pours with a minimal amount of tan head, but the beer is super dark brown and fairly thick. Some lacing.

Mild aroma of robust malts and chocolate.

It definitely is an imperial porter here and not an imperial stout. Strong flavors of chocolate with a bit of espresso. Dark malts give off a lot of sweetness. Finishes with the most mild of roasted notes and a little bit of hop bitterness.

Smooth, but not too heavy at all.

Surprisingly very drinkable for an imperial beer. Goes down quick and easy, and on the sweet/cocoa side of things. Well done T. Hooker.

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Photo of youradhere
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, crystal clear. Off white head that leaves medium lacing. Clear dark garnet body, a lil light lookin. Smells like licorice and anise, fruity, light chocolate. Interesting taste, complicated; chocolate, licorice and anise, fruity, citrus hops. Medium body, quite drinkable! Medium carbonation. Surprising considering the appearance looks weak.

On a side note, I found this brew had some traits that I found familiar. I cracked into the cellar and on a lark opened a Jubel 2010, I found a similar yet more subdued (weaker, less imperial) flavor in the Jubel. Just FYI.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is smoky and oily with undertones of quality coffee and molasses and a hint of hops. It pours a barely transparent cola brown with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head. Smoky flavor has tones of molasses and coffee and a hoppy, bitter undertone. Texture is thick, smooth and fizzy, leaving a fairly persistent smoky and slightly hoppy tingle.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.44/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a great head the laces covers the glass and continues down the glass.

The aroma is ok sweet molasses with a chocloate balence but it doesn't stand out

The taste is sweet malts with a chocolate and roasted finish a slight almmost fruity finish

This is a good porter but I don't know

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Dark brown to black color. Two fingers of creamy light brown head with average retention and absolutely tons of lacing.

4.0 S: Chocolate, coffee, and toasty. Maybe some molasses. Not all that complex, but very nice.

3.5 T: The taste is a bit strange. There's a decent amount of caramel type sweetness that meshes strangely with the toasty and roasty flavors. It forms an almost lactose-like flavor. It's not really off-putting, but the flavors seem to muddle together rather than complement each other. Anyway, some dark chocolate and coffee again. I do like this, but I feel it would be better if it had a more defined direction.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy and smooth.

3.5 D: Again, a good beer, but the weird flavor meshing reduces my desire for another one.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.7/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - This pours a deep brown-black, and is capped with a wispy cream-hued froth.

S - The nose is very hoppy, offering impressions of lemon pith and lime juice as well as notes of green peppercorn. The malt is basically nowhere to be found, in terms of aroma.

T - Initially, I did not like this at all. I almost drainpoured it after the first couple swigs. I let it chill out for a minute or ten, and it got significantly nicer, which is still nothing to write home about. The malt is very light, and it does not seem to possess any appreciable character. This beer is too hoppy, and just tastes unbalanced (and also slightly of pencil shavings.)

M - The feel is medium, the carbonation is semi-pert.

D - I had previously only had the oak-aged version of this brew (way better), but I was unaware that it was actually a different brew than this, as it does not indicate that it is oak-aged on the bottle.

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Photo of Bung
3.39/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Extra in trade from mob2332, very nice. Not sure the age on this one...
Nearly black pour with brown accents. Just about zero head, some whispy light tan whisps.

I enjoy the heavy malty aroma much more. A bunch of toffee and caramel. Some molasses.

Taste is equally malty, but some metallic and harsh notes are here. Toffee, caramel, diacetyl more present than it probably should be. Some coffee, a bit acrid though. The harshness grows. Finishes with some more pleasant bitter, a nice herbal hop presence.
Just not quite enough accenting flavors, just becomes a bit burnt.

Thinner than one would like for "imperial", but for a standard American it is ok. Alcohol was surprisingly present to me, not that 7.8 is low.

Nice to try, but there are other old stand byes I'd go to.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Active, with good clarity revealed by backlight. Dark chestnut brown with red highlights when backlit. A finger of tan head and modest retention results from the pour, and leaves some decent patches of lacing.

Sour (why I wonder), malty sweet, and grainy. Can't find the roast. Not bad at all, but not very robust.

Malty sweet, medium roast, and boozy. Sweetness is vaguely chocolaty. Mild roasty bitterness noticeable on the back end. Light sourness emerges gradually as well. Pretty tasty.

Good carbonation, medium full body, gentle warming, mildly bitter finish.

There is much going on here, and it is pretty well balanced. Some rich flavors blend nicely. I'm impressed, and look forward to trying this one and others from Thomas Hooker in the future.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Thomas Hooker pint glass.

A: Dark, honey amber brown color with a two-finger head of tan foam which settles to a creamy, bubbly slick, leaving behind a bit of lacing.

S: Great, fruity, floral roasted barley aroma with strong notes of earthy hops, licorice and strong coffee. A nice bittersweet cocoa aroma rises from the herbal, moderately hoppy smelling brew.

T: Sweet, creamy, deep roasted malts up front with a burnt sugar, deep fruit complex which throws hints of raisin, plum and dried cherries. Nice cocoa-like, granola sweetness with a touch of honey and pine resin. Malts are earthy, robust and herbal, lending a spicy note to the modest alcohol sting. The finish leaves strong, bitter roasted malts and a bit of an pine needle hop slick on the palate.

M: Full-bodied and creamy porter with loads of balanced, but slick, hop resins to go around. Nice, sturdy sipping porter.

D: The malty, roasted, bittersweet chocolate character of a strong porter fused with alcohol and distinctly American hopping. At nearly 8% ABV, this is certainly a heavy-handed porter, but one to be enjoyed on its own or perhaps with a slice of dark chocolate cake or torte.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a dark and ruddy brown with a slim and sudsy beige head as well as a surprising amount of lacing.

Smell -- Well-roasted malt, cocoa powder, molasses, and earthy/herbaceous hops. The nose is reminiscent of an English Barleywine with its fruity esters and malt sweetness.

Taste -- Much like the nose with well-roasted malt, cocoa, dates, dark brown sugar, mild berry tanginess, and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Hops are slightly forward lending an herbaceous, almost menthol note toward the finish.

Mouthfeel -- Slightly watery in feel with moderate carbonation. Nice bubbles, needs heft.

Drinkability -- This beer slowly grew on me. Falls somewhere between a traditional porter, an English Barleywine, and an Old Ale. Lots going on, and an incredibly easy beer to drink even with its heft and richness. Good stuff.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got a couple of these from shogokawada. Really excited to have a go at Thomas Hooker. (That's what she said.)

A- Deep red-brown. Very concise and sticky head with lots of lacing.

S- This is certainly smelling like a robust porter. Hefty malts lending deep roast and milk chocolate. A stiff hopping lends citrus and grass.

T- Really really good. This gives porters a good name. Big, hairy chested malts square off with quite a lot of hops as porters go. It starts creamy and roasty and ends very grassy and hoppy.

M- Full bodied with spot on carbonation. Drying finish.

D- I'm glad Phil included two of these.

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Photo of stakem
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 1/13/11.

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. This brew appears a dark brown color with ruby clarity. A finger of dark tan head forms across the top. Patchy and spotty lace clings to the glass as the head slowly fades.

The aroma of this brew is dark malty roastiness with some dark skinned fruity indications and sweetness. A little bit of tangy alcohol is noted. The alcohol seemingly only shows itself upfront in the nose and gives way to a scent of lingering chocolate.

The taste is roasted malt with a mild bitterness. Some fruity alcohol notes mingle with a chocolate flavor that lingers in the mouth. Almost coffee-like with a musty grain flavor that lingers. Quite a bit of bitterness that is from a combination of the roast of the malt and tangy citrus hops.

This is medium in the feel with a light level of carbonation. Quite drinkable with a pleasant roastiness. Relatively speaking the alcohol is well hidden in the taste from what the aroma led on. Not bad.

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Photo of birchstick
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to BogleHill for sending this my way!

A - pours a dark black with a one finger head. Looks good.

S - sweet, milk chocolate, but not much else but what is there is good

T - Very sweet milk chocolates with some cocoa flavor that fade into some silky dark chocolate and a touch of burnt malt and some citrus hops on the finish. Very nice tasting beer here. I would say the sweet chocolate flavors are easily the predominant flavor, which are balanced by the more subtle roasted flavors. Very nice.

M - silky smooth mouthfeel that goes down nicely

D - this is a very good imperial porter. I would love to have this again and would put it toward the top of the ones I have tried.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.72/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Live review of a 12 oz bottle courtesy of Pabs311.
A: A dark woody brown, with a nice tan film and collar.
S: Boozy raspberry chocolate, a slightly smokey cream. The alcohol comes off like bourbon, with mild vanilla.
T: Roasted nutty chocolate, raspberry comes off more like banana bourbon vanilla, and a burnt finish that lingers.
M: Syrupy with a very frothy carbonation.
D: Pretty good; a little boozey.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours near black with a light tan head and a tiny bit of lacing on the way down. The nose brings some roast as well as sweetness with some dark malt, chocolate, coffee, and molasses coming through. The taste isn't super well integrated and looses some nuances from the nose. Mild cherry flavor and good chocolate and coffee. Medium body with a bit of alcohol. Drinks fairly well, but nowhere near the Doppelbock.

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Photo of RDHerm
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, deep brown color that is almost entirely opaque, with faint dark chocolate highlights. Has a coffee colored head that dissipates rather quickly, but leaves a solid ring that holds for the duration and leaves nice lacing.

Strong and sweet aroma. Notes of sweet roasted malts, coffee, and dark fruits, with hints of nuts and dark chocolate, and the slightest bit of hops.

Very strong taste of coffee, dark chocolate, and malts, with a nice fruity finish (primarily raisin and cherry) and a consistent hoppy bitterness lurking just below the surface. Aftertaste has slight hints of oak and touch of alcohol warmth, but not too much - this beer hides its alcohol content pretty well.

Medium/heavy body. Carbonation level felt a bit too high; it's a nice creaminess, but a bit more effervescence than one would expect from a Porter. Dries the palate about as much as usual for a beer of this style.

A great beer to sit and sip for a while, just be wary of the deceptive alcohol content.

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Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a grolsh style swing top into tulip/snifter. NO date on the bottle, but I think it's got some age thanks to a mark down at the store, and then sitting in my cellar for quite a few months on top of that.

Pours a dark rich creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at a medium pace to a light head covering. The beer is basically pitch black.

Nose brings dark malts, some roasted malt, a little chocolate malt, some coffee, a little toffee, slight bakers chocolate, some light caramel, and a slight fluffy nougat. Some light earthy hops hidden in there somewhere too. It actually has a pretty nice nose.

Taste comes on rich and thick, bringing lots of chocolate and roasted malts. First the chocolate smacks you, bringing some malts and a little baker's chocolate. Next some roasted malts swirl in with a little coffee, and hint of burnt malt flavors. Some caramel and vanilla flavors smooth it out a bit, with just a hint of a creamy oatmeal like appeal. Next comes some bitterness, with a hint of earthy and herbal hop flavors, but some bitterness coming from the roast as well. A little bit of the minerality flavor too, which comes on stronger as it warms and late on the finish. The finish also brings a tad more bitterness, and leaves a sticky feel around the mouth. The chocolate sticks with it a bit, and it remains pretty sweet. Just a hint of warming booze comes through, but drinks well. The minerality/salty like flavor really starts to get a little strong and overwhelming later on the finish and as it warms.

The mouth is pretty thick, rich, a little creamy and smooth, with lower but tolerable decent carbonation. It has more carbonation than I expected for a swing top bottle that has some age on it.

Drinkability is a little lower. It doesn't drink hot for almost 8%, in fact drinks pretty well in that aspect. However, the sticky mouth feel that coats the mouth, combined with that minerality salty like flavor that starts to bombard after a while. If it wasn't for that minerality flavor this beer would probably break into the A rating range.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a black as night color with a small head that doesn't stick around for very long. Good lacing. Nice aroma of coffee, malt, and caramel. Taste is heavy. Flavor of the coffee and malt again. Sweet caramel finish. I'll be taking my time to enjoy this beer.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown date. Served at around 50F.

Pours very dark brown with a two finger tan head that fades quickly to a foamy island and ring but leaves a good deal of drippy lacing behind.

Aroma is big on dark fruits, a lot of raisins, plums, figs, etc, some cocoa, coffee, caramel, very malty, moderate to good strength.

Flavor follows suit with a lot of rich dark fruits, good deal of chocolate, some coffee, toffee, and caramel, the hops make a minor presence and there is also a bit of a cherry sourish tang but it is quite subdued and fitting for the style. A bit of alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied, somewhat creamy, medium carbonation.

This has Baltic Porter written all over it both on the nose and the tongue. Very good example of the style.

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Thomas Hooker Imperial Porter from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 357 ratings.
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